IRAQ DEPLOYMENT Reservist trying to prevent foreclosure on home
Because of military transfers, the reservist didn't get the paperwork.
COLUMBUS (AP) -- An Army reservist who tends to critically wounded soldiers in Iraq is desperately trying to keep a mortgage company from taking her house away while she's gone.
Sgt. Yyvette Nicole Curry was working with the 629th Forward Surgical Team last spring when she began receiving worrisome reports from friends.
When she returned home on 10-day emergency leave in May, she found a life in disarray -- her husband had left her, family members were taking care of her four children, ages 10-16, and a mortgage company was foreclosing on her home.
During leave, Curry filed for divorce, called the mortgage company and made arrangements for her kids. Then she traveled back to her station 30 miles north of Baghdad, where her unit tries to keep wounded soldiers alive long enough to get them to a hospital.
But Curry is back on another emergency leave, after the mortgage company, ABN Amro Mortgage Group, continued its foreclosure proceedings.
"I have to fight for this house," she said sitting in the two-story house in west Columbus. "It's the only stability that my kids have."
Lt. Col. Dale Vitale, an Army Reserve lawyer helping Curry, said she's making an honest effort to pay her debt.
"She's not a deadbeat who didn't pay. It was impossible for her to pay," he said.
No one could be reached to comment Sunday at the Chicago offices of ABN Amro North America, and no listing for the mortgage company could be found in Ohio. A spokeswoman for ABN Amro told The Columbus Dispatch that the company wouldn't comment on pending legal matters.
Curry, who worked for Mount Carmel Health Systems before deploying, was married Jan. 31, 2003, and activated less than a month later.
Curry was at Fort Stewart, Ga., when the house she wanted became available, so she gave her husband power of attorney to sign her name to a $127,000 loan from ABN AMRO Mortgage Group.
Soon after her husband closed on the house in April 2003, the military began transferring her. She says the paperwork couldn't keep up with the four transfers and that she didn't receive pay for three months.
Vitale said Curry has been able to verify that version of events to him.
Curry sent ABN AMRO copies of her orders after missing two payments, but left her husband to deal with the company because she was about to head overseas.
"I didn't follow up," Curry said. "I should have."
Last November, the mortgage company filed a foreclosure complaint in Franklin County Common Pleas Court.
Meanwhile, communication broke down with her husband, who had told her he didn't know if their marriage would survive her deployment, she said. Eventually she lost contact with him.
Curry learned from a neighbor that notices were tacked to her door, and strangers were coming and going, taking pictures.
"I was helpless. I was crying," she said. "The commander said, 'Let's get you on emergency leave to straighten this out.'"
Curry called state Sen. Ray Miller of Columbus for help, and the lawmaker discussed her case with the mortgage company.
"I told them they should be ashamed of themselves," Miller said. "It was the typical bureaucratic response: 'We have the right to do what we want to do.'"
Curry was granted another emergency leave recently after hearing from friends and neighbors that the lock on her house had been changed.
She arrived home Aug. 14 and found a letter from the mortgage company that said the foreclosure would stop if she continued her mortgage payments and paid the company's $3,256 in legal fees.
"I told them I would not accept this agreement," she said, and she requested the Army Reserve's help.
Lt. Col. Duncan Auckland of the Ohio National Guard's joint staff judge advocate office said it sounds like ABN AMRO has the right to do everything it has done.
"It doesn't seem unfair for the lender to seek the remedy it lawfully can seek," Auckland said.
But, he added: "You can be acting within your rights but not doing the right thing."